Weekender: Deems share secret to lifelong love

Bundaberg Touch Cup kicks goals for region in 2022

Megan Dean

The 2022 Bundaberg Cup has kicked goals for the region’s economy with 777 competitors taking to the field and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent locally.

The annual event is fast becoming famous as one of Australia’s richest touch football competitions with $20,000 in cash and prizes distributed.

Hosted at Greg Duncan Fields on February 5 and 6 in its namesake town thanks to a sponsorship agreement with Bundaberg Regional Council, this year’s competition saw 52 teams compete.

While the event provided an opportunity for local teams to vie for the top prize, it also saw 71 per cent of attendees travel from outside of the region.

Statistics taken from registration details provided to Queensland Touch Football reveal that more than 1300 spectators travelled with competitors.

Throughout the weekend players and spectators stayed for the equivalent of 2616 visitor nights.

Direct expenditure within the Bundaberg Region totalled more than $430,000.

Acting Mayor Bill Trevor said these fantastic results demonstrated the importance of fostering high level sporting competition within the region.

“We are thrilled to be a continued sponsor of the Bundaberg Cup,” Cr Trevor said.

“Not only is it a great opportunity for our local players and has obvious benefits through direct expenditure, you can’t put a price on the ongoing exposure this event affords our region.

“Thousands of people have travelled to our region and seen firsthand our great weather, unique attractions and welcoming hospitality.

“Now they’ll tell all their friends and I’m sure will be keen to come back.”

QTF Chief Executive Officer Greg Denny said the Bundaberg Cup provided the opportunity for teams from north and south of the region to travel and compete against amazing Central Queensland talent.

“Queensland Touch Football are extremely grateful to Bundaberg Regional Council for their support of the Bundaberg Cup tournament,” Mr Denny said.

”We are building a rich history for the Bundaberg Cup and it’s a joy to bring the touch football community together in Bundaberg each February to kick off our season.”

While Rockhampton teams dominated the seventh annual 2022 Bundaberg Cup, winning six of the eight competitive divisions, two local teams were also among the winners.

Both finishing runners-up were Ankle Bullies in the Social Men’s category and Bundaberg in Under-16 Girls.

The Bundaberg Cup is set to return to the Bundaberg Region in 2023 and 2024 following a three-year partnership agreement with Bundaberg Regional Council worth $60,000.

ChrysantheMUMS the word as auction raises $1600

Ashley Schipper

A local family has splashed some cash on chrysanthemums all in the name of a good cause as part of Bundaberg Endeavour Foundation's inaugural Mother's Day flower auction.

Avocado farmers John and Kym Walsh were the winning bidders of the Bundaberg-grown flowers at the auction held at the organisation on Fitzgerald Street last week.

The family raised the stakes from what is normally a $15 bunch of chrysanthemums to a whopping $1600, with a little help from their 22-year-old daughter Erin.

The local Endeavour Foundation worker, who has been assisting with the annual Mother's Day chrysanthemum harvest, was keen to tactically outbid her mum and dad to keep the dollar amount rising.

She was helped by the involvement of more than 60 support workers who embraced the auction atmosphere and made their own bids.

John and Kym later jokingly admitted to wondering how high their daughter was willing to go for the charity auction.

“It was quite a competitive bidding process we went through!” they laughed.

The stunning bouquet, picked fresh from the on-site farm, was gifted to Kym's 99-year-old grandmother later that day, making for a beautiful early Mother's Day present.

The couple said they were thrilled to have been able to support a cause close to their hearts.

“The flowers signify a lot, they signify the hard work of Endeavour and they recognise the important role that mother's play in society,” they said.

“The flowers cost $1600 but at the end of the day it is about the joy we have contributing to a place like Endeavour.

“Our daughter, Erin, has been at Endeavour for over six years now and she loves coming to work and achieving things.

“She is also learning different things and coming home with certificates.

“As parents we are very proud and very happy.”

Auction celebrates 30 years of chrysanthemums at Endeavour

The auction marked the Endeavour Foundation's 30 years of growing chrysanthemums in Bundaberg for Mother’s Day.

Endeavour Foundation CEO David Swain said the inaugural auction event also included the picking of the first 2022 flowers as part of the yearly Mother's Day harvest at the Bundaberg farm.

“The Endeavour Foundation farm supports people with disabilities by providing great opportunities to engage in the world of work while showcasing a real celebration of ability,” he said.

“This is our very first auction and we hope it becomes a tradition in the Bundaberg community.

“We had no expectations, for us it is about the celebration of all abilities and the great work of the Endeavour Foundation in Bundaberg.”

David said the money raised would stay in the region and go towards the efforts in supporting people with disabilities to access open employment while providing opportunities long into the future.

“I am so happy with the outcome and spirit of the auction,” he said.

“The flowers themselves have been growing for six months in a carefully controlled environment so they bloom just in time for Mother's Day.

“In the lead up, we have up to 60 people volunteering to pick flowers and we couldn't make this happen without them!”

David said the locally-grown chrysanthemums were available from a variety of stores throughout Queensland for about $15 and made the perfect Mother's Day gift.

“The hint is in the name- chrysantheMUM!” he said.

“The Greek terminology is ‘golden' and who doesn't want to give their mum gold for Mother's Day?”

Find out more about the Endeavour Foundation here.

Bridges Community Care Centre approved

Ashley Schipper

Plans to develop the former Bundaberg CBD fire station into a community care centre have officially been approved.

Bundaberg Regional Council last week gave the green light to the Bridges Health and Community Care development, which is set to feature a range of facilities including meeting rooms, workshop areas, art equipment for hire, a commercial kitchen, diner and more.

According to the application, Bridges was established in 1998 and is the longest running and leading provider of community-based mental health and drug and alcohol services in Queensland.

“Bridges mission is to improve the health, social and economic outcomes for people of all ages, cultures and communities, particularly those facing adversity, marginalisation and discrimination,” the application states.

“Bridges services include allied health, psychological services, community based mental health services, counselling and support programs, in addition to offering disability employment and NDIS support services.”

The development on Woongarra Street will operate as a community care centre, offering a space for clients and the community to utilise.

The application states the “goal and vision for the facility is to use the ground area for community activities, art projects, workshops, support groups and general access to improve, health, social and emotional wellbeing.

“They will offer certified training and education programs, disability employment support and NDIS services.

“There would also be a café and eatery offering a meeting place for community members, which would showcase and honour emergency services through a themed renovation of the former fire station (with input from QFES).”

The centre will operate from 6.30 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 6.30 am to 5 pm and Sunday 7 am to 3 pm, once established.

It will employ twenty staff from a range of services including BHCC health and wellbeing, disability employment, youth support and cultural liaison plus ten executive and administrative team members.

The onsite café will feature six staff rostered per shift.

Smith & Sons offers one-stop-shop for renovations

Ashley Schipper

A new business focused on all things home renovation has opened in Bundaberg, with Sam Spiteri and Gerard Flanigan at the helm of the local Smith & Sons franchise.

Located at Shop 6, 54 Walker Street, the team specialises in all types of home renovations and extensions including decks and patios, granny flats, house raising, internal renovations and everything in between.

The new design centre will be a hub for locals to drop in, speak one-on-one with a builder and view a range of displays and product selections for all types of projects.

Sam said he and Gerard were thrilled to open the franchise in the Bundaberg Region.

“Gerard and I jumped at the chance to be involved with Smith & Sons, we saw an opportunity to move forward with our construction future and loved the idea of being a part of a franchise,” he said.

“Nearly everywhere you look there is a home that needs renovations and we saw that businesses for renovations are sadly lacking in the region.

“We're excited to be able to fill in that space and give our clients quality, long lasting and progressive renovations.”

The Bundaberg locals come with a long history in the construction and building industry.

Gerard has been a builder for more than 30 years while Sam has been a carpenter for more than 12 years.

Both have extensive knowledge of all things construction and renovations, from “the odd job” to working on large commercial projects like The Rum Distillery and The Friendlies Hospital.

The duo said they were excited to bring their skillset to Smith & Sons.

“Bundaberg is teeming with new builds which is great for the region but there are many people who love their home or are investing and require a more functional space to be built,” Sam said.

“We love being able to watch an old Queenslander develop a new lease on life, give a bathroom a revamp, add on a second story addition or build functional rooms or living spaces for the family.

“We're offering a one-stop-shop for all things renovations.

“From quality workmanship, a friendly attitude, new ideas or refurbish old ones, Smith & Sons Bundaberg has got you covered.”

The Smith & Sons display centre is open from 9 am to 4.30 pm at Shop 6, 54 Walker Street, Bundaberg.

Author Kirsty Everett to inspire community

Georgia Neville

If battling childhood cancer taught author Kirsty Everett one thing, it was that she could overcome any challenges under seemingly impossible circumstances.

The author, who started writing her novel Honey Blood as a teenager in case she died, has told her story in a raw and inspiring way which allows people to relate to her.

The community is invited to hear Kirsty's inspiration story when she speaks at an author talk at Bundaberg Regional Library on Wednesday 18 May.

Not one to want people to feel sorry for her, Kirsty is telling her story in a way that opens readers' eyes to the things she learnt, and what she now appreciates more since winning her battle.

“Honey Blood was a book I began to write as a teenager, one I wrote in case I died,” Kirsty said.

“The fact that I’ve now written it to educate people about the realities of living through cancer as a child and teenager is pure magic.

“The event, despite my book containing cancer stories, is an event for everyone and talks about the precious, complex and gorgeous nature of love, family and friendship.”

The book provided Kirsty an opportunity to share firsthand her cancer journey, feeling privileged to be able to be here to share her story.

“I am honoured that I can share authentic stories on behalf of my friends who didn’t get to survive,” she said.

“It is a book about my unconventional childhood and how cancer was really a huge inconvenience as I tried to do all the things that young people do.

“I promise there’ll be no gloom and doom though, that is not my style.”

Kirsty said the opportunity to visit Bundaberg and present is a chance she took with both hands, having never been to the region before.

“When I was invited to speak at the Bundaberg Library, it was very exciting, as being invited to do an author talk is such an enormous privilege,” she said.

“I’m so excited to attend the event and very grateful that Dymocks will be helping out to sell copies of Honey Blood, with proceeds from every book sale to go to cancer research.”

Kirsty said she would love to see as many people as possible at the event,

“I’ve always been quick to smile and laugh and would love for people to join me at this event,” she said.

“I’ve got plenty more stories not inside my book that I’d love to share.”

You can book your place at the upcoming event here.

Blood cancer is the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer in youth between 0 -14 years.

You can find out more about the Leukemia Foundation here.

Childers residents encouraged to join Lions

Ashley Schipper

The Childers Lions Club is calling on residents who have a passion for community projects to sign up for membership as the group works to reactivate its local presence.

Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in more than 46,000 clubs worldwide.

Membership coordinator John Seymour said the organisation had a proud and dynamic history.

“Founded in 1917, we are best known for fighting blindness – it's part of our history as well as our work today, but we also perform volunteer work for many different kinds of community projects,” he said.

“These include caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled.”

John said Lions had grown from the vision of one man, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader who asked a simple and world-changing question: what if people put their talents to work improving their communities?

“Almost 100 years later we have countless stories of Lions acting on that same simple idea,” John said.

“Now in Lions, the members may have changed but the principles remain the same.

“Lions believe in the motto ‘we make things happen' and we also believe that family comes first, then work, then Lions.”

John said while Lions members responsibilities included attending meetings and being involved in community service activities they were, first and foremost, volunteers.

“We appreciate any time that you can spare.

“We always try to be flexible as we understand how busy our lives can be,” he said.

“The local Lions club have a desire to see Childers Lions Club once again be an active club in the local community.

“You can see that Lions international goals align well with our own community expectations to create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.”

John said there was something that everyone could work to achieve as part of being a Lion.

“If you want to serve others, there is a spot for you here in the Childers Lions Club,” he said.

“If you want to eradicate preventable blindness, you can – you’re a Lion.

“If you want to help break the cycle of poverty by teaching others to read, you can – you’re a Lion.

“If you want to preserve the environment for future generations, you can – you’re a Lion

“If you want to rebuild communities, you can – you’re a Lion.

“If you want to make a difference in the life of a needy child, you can – you’re a Lion.”

To find out more about the Childers Lions Club visit the Facebook page here or phone 0483 870 752.

What's on

Plan a visit to help celebrate Botanic Gardens Day

Ashley Schipper

Residents are being encouraged to branch out and explore the more than 10,000 trees and shrubs at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens in the month of May.

While the gardens provide enjoyment all year-round, this month marks the annual, nation-wide Botanic Gardens Day event.

Each year Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand commemorates the role botanic gardens play within each community, with more than 100 locations taking part in the month-long celebrations.

As part of the event residents can take participate in the #plantloverschallenge by posting a photo or 30 second video to Facebook about what plants mean to them and how plants influence their life.

Bundaberg Regional Council's Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the community could also commemorate the day by visiting the local gardens to explore all that was on offer during the month of May.

“Botanic Gardens Day highlights the role plants play in our lives and the important work botanic gardens do to preserve plant species,” he said.

“If you take a casual stroll around the beautiful Bundaberg Botanic Gardens you will find more than 10,000 trees and shrubs across 27 hectares of land.

“These species grow in a range of areas including the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, Rare Fruit Tree Orchard, Bromeliad Garden, Fern Garden, Australian Rainforest and much more.”

Cr Honor said as winter neared, the gardens would come alive with an interesting array of species.

“During our cooler months the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens Ylang Ylang, situated just near the train station, bursts to life with its clusters of dark fruit,” he said.

“In the Rare Fruit Tree Orchard you can sample the ripe orange red fruit of the peanut butter tree, Bunchosia glandulifera, which has a sweet flesh that tastes similar to peanut butter.

“At this time of year you can also witness the plumed ducks who enjoy gathering at the gardens, with large groups often seen on the banks of the lake.”

Plan your trip to Bundaberg Botanic Gardens in May

To help plan your trip to the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, Cr Honor said Council had recently launched an online story map featuring a wide range of information.

“Visitors to the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens website will be able to view images of each of the 15 plant collections in the gardens as well as the various tourist attractions and café,” he said.

“Information on each facility and a map showing the location of the facility is also available to provide easy planning for prospective visitors.”

Find out more here.

Wartime crash victims honoured in Bundaberg

Megan Dean

In 1948 Bundaberg honoured soldiers lost in a wartime plane crash with a funeral procession and burial, attracting letters of appreciation from the Australian and United States air forces.

Letters to Bundaberg Mayor of the day Alderman F.H. Buss recently rediscovered in Council’s historic archives reveal the gratitude for the service following the tragic discovery made five years after the plane was lost on 21 November 1943.

According to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives the soldiers were travelling on a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, christened ‘Star Duster’, and were on their way to Brisbane after collecting mail in Rockhampton.

“On the last leg to Brisbane, while cruising west of Monto, the crew encountered poor weather conditions and lost control of the aircraft that crashed in a canyon,” the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives report reads.

“As the aircraft was declared missing, SAR operations were conducted but eventually suspended [a] few days later as no trace of the aircraft nor the crew was found.”

The State Library of Queensland said the twin engine United States Douglas Dakota transport plane had disappeared without a trace until a discovery was made in June 1948.

“… a farmer found the wreckage in a gully on Magpie Station at Yarrol, in the Monto district of Queensland,” the State Library said.

“The plane was carrying 4 American crewmen, 2 American military passengers and 7 Australian military passengers.”

Other parts of the wreckage would remain undiscovered for decades including the right wing which was found in 1961, about one km from the main wreckage, and other debris such as a door and stabilizer which were found in 1991.

Australia @ War has published a military document relating to the crash found in NARA records, dated 29 June 1948.

“The starboard motor was located 300 to 400 yards from the main wreckage, as no damage to trees was evident it appears that this motor came adrift in mid-air,” the report said.

While the crash victims were unable to be identified, a moving historical image of the funeral procession held in July 1948 shows the reverence and respect with which they were treated by the Bundaberg community.

The procession moved through the town area before the soldiers were laid to rest in the Bundaberg War Cemetery.

These actions were greatly appreciated by Australian and American defence personnel who wrote to Council to express their thanks.

A letter was received on 29 July 1948 from Casualty Section, Department of Air, Albert Park Barracks Secretary M.C. Langslow on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“With reference to the finding of the wreckage of a crashed Douglas aircraft at Monto and to the burial of the unidentified members of the crew and passengers at Bundaberg War Cemetery on the 5th July, 1948, my Department desires to express appreciation to you and the people of Bundaberg for their co-operation with the members of the Royal Australian Air Force with regard to the burial arrangements,” the letter said.

“It is pleasing to note, from a report submitted by the Officer-in-Charge of the R.A.A.F. Searcher Party, Squadron leader K.M. Rundle, the tribute he has paid to the assistance and co-operation afforded to him by you and other members of the Council and it is desired to say that such action greatly facilitates the unfortunate task of the Royal Australian Air Force in recovering and burying members who lost their lives on war service.”

On the same day a letter was received from Lt Colonel Ralph L Michaels from the Office of the United States Air Attache.

“The Unites States Air Force and the Embassy of the United State in Australia wish to take this opportunity to express their sincere and grateful thanks for your willing help and cooperation in connection with the recently discovered air crash near Monto, Queensland,” Lt Colonel Michaels said.

“The outstanding cooperation received from the citizens of Bundaberg through your office deserves the heartfelt appreciation felt by the American Government and its people.

“Your kindness will not be forgotten either by the next of kin or the United States Air Force.”

The grave sites are maintained within the Bundaberg Cemetery on Takalvan Street by War Graves Australia.

Historical Council archives are being digitised as part of an ongoing project to preserve the region’s heritage.

Book review

In Our Garage: Arthur Downie's 1957 Chevy

Paul Donaldson

Arthur Downie’s 1957 Chevy was built in an era when “space age” design was all the rage with the iconic car even featuring rockets.

Q. Tell us a bit about the car?

A. The car is a 1957 chevy and it is an Australian delivery car which means it was assembled here in Australia and is a right hand drive. They bought about 3000 of them into the country.

Q. What is the history of the car?

A. It was assembled in Brisbane and I bought it from Gympie. I am the third owner of the car and I bought it in 1976 so I have had it for quite a long time.

It was kept in storage for many years before I started resurrecting it which was a pretty mammoth job to be honest. The good thing about it is it was a complete car which meant I did not have to find too many parts.

Q. What condition was the car in when you purchased it?

A. It was a complete car except it did not go, so when I bought it I got it trailered from Gympie back to Gladstone where I was living at the time. I got it going and from there I parked it in a shed and left it there for 30 years. I started doing it up which was a 10 year project and have probably had it on the road now for around ten years.

Q. What was the car like when you got it?

A. The bodywork was pretty fine, but unfortunately during those years I kept it in storage it did begin to fall apart so I had to buy a few new parts which at the time and still are readily available from the United States.

Q. What did you have to do to restore it?

A. So, over the ten years, like a lot of these projects if you have good mates around they make the job a lot easier. I had to buy new bumper bars and I upgraded the engine - I think it had a 3.7 litre in it from the factory and I’ve changed that to a 5.7 litre engine which is a bit more economical and uses modern day fuels.

Q. Tell us a bit about the engine:

A. The engine is out of a 2000 Commodore so it is a 5.7 litre with electronic fuel injection and I have a four speed overdrive gearbox behind that so the cruising is very easy in it. It also gives very good mileage but still has a bit of punch there when you need it.

Q. What is it like to drive?

A. It drives quite well for its age. It still has the original steering box in it and the original diff housing in it so it is not so bad. I was bought up driving that era of car, so to me it is good to drive. There is no power steering but I have put air conditioning in it. It does have a very big steering wheel on it which makes that a lot easier.

Q. Tell us about the interior:

A. The interior is all leather which I got from America, and it was fitted by one of the local upholstery people here in Bundaberg and they did a great job. It is red and black, which I think compliments the white exterior quite well.

Q. Can you tell us about some of the cars interesting features?

A. As you can see it was an era when they were trying to emulate the space age, so you have a couple of rockets on the front and when you are sitting in the car, the one in front of the driver lines up exactly behind you. You can go down the road with these rockets on the bonnet and that is the era it has come from when the space age was up and running well.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about the exterior details?

A. I made a few adjustments to the exterior of the car and the mirrors that were on the doors were never there, they were always on the bottom of the door below the window. I did not like that so I put these little what they call peep mirrors up on the top of the doors and I think it looks quite good and we have to have the car the way we like it, not the way others like it.

Q. What is so special about this car?

A. I have always been a bit keen on the 1957 Chevy and they are iconic car and they do have a great following. They are a much sought after car today and I have gotten this one repainted, this wasn’t the original colour, I wasn’t real keen on that as it was a two tone grey which was a bit ordinary, so instead I got it painted in white with the red splash on the side which I think compliments it quite well.

Q. What do you enjoy about restoring cars?

A. I think a lot of these things, we want to try and relive our youth and if we can do that then that’s what matters, and when I found the car I thought that will do me. It is the same year as I was born which makes it a bit more special for me.

Q. What does it sound like with such a big engine in the car?

A. It is very quiet, but it does have a burble when you stick your foot in it. I did upgrade the brakes and I now have power disc brakes on it from a later model Holden because the brakes on it were all right for the day but traffic moves a bit faster nowadays and we need to be able to pull up a bit quicker.

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Rugby league legends host clinic

Young rugby league stars in the making were given the chance to brush up on their skills with the help of two Queensland players, Sam Thaiday and Meg Ward, at Salter Oval this week for the QRL Regional Roadshow.

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